BAGHDAD/KIRKUK: A Kurdish coalition won the largest single bloc of seats in provincial elections in the restive northern province of Ninevah, though it fell short of a majority, Iraqi electoral officials said Wednesday. The Independent High Electoral commission announced that the Kurdish-backed Al-Taakhi list won 11 of 39 provincial council seats up for grabs.
Ninevah borders Iraq’s largely autonomous Kurdish region and has a sizable Kurdish minority. Many of the remaining seats went to Arab parties.
Iraqi parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi’s Sunni Arab-backed United bloc came in second, with eight seats. The Loyalty to Ninevah party, backed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, was third with four seats.
The results came as a series of attacks killed five people in northern Iraq.
The violence struck in and around the ethnically mixed cities of Kirkuk and Tuz Khurmatu, which lie at the center of a tract of land stretching from Iraq’s eastern border with Iran to its western frontier with Syria.
Kurdistan wants to incorporate the area into its three-province autonomous region over the objections of the central government in Baghdad.
Near Kirkuk, a roadside bomb killed three people as they were driving a truck filled with produce, police and a doctor said.
In the city itself, gunmen killed a soldier and wounded another, while a tribal chief was found dead in Tuz Khurmatu, having suffered multiple gunshots. His body also bore signs of torture, officials and medics said.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 27, 2013, on page 9.